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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Bach Strad Intonation Problems in the General forums; A top notch brass shop could chem clean your horn, fix the slides and check out the horn and the ...
  1. #11
    Piano User
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    Jan 2008
    Northern Virginia

    Re: Bach Strad Intonation Problems

    A top notch brass shop could chem clean your horn, fix the slides and check out the horn and the mouthpiece gap and make recommendations after play testing the horn. Osmun Brass in Mass. is very good, just as an example and you could ship the horn to them.

  2. #12
    Pianissimo User
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    May 2010

    Re: Bach Strad Intonation Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Madstrad48 View Post
    First of all, I'm new here so greetings to you all. I've been reading posts for quite a while and have been greatly assisted by many of your thoughts and suggestions...even as I have been encouraged by the frustrations of others (knowing I'm not alone!)...and that leads me to my first question:

    I have a '75 vintage, Bb Silver Strad 37. As is typical, low C# and D are seriously sharp. I can't easily lip them into tune and the mechanics of using first and third slides tends to jar my embouchure and ruin my tone quality. Any suggestions for how to improve intonation on my horn? Would a trigger help me? Any other mechanical change that could be done? If not, are there any tricks to using slides more effectively? I tried a Yamaha horn and the angle of the thumb saddle/finger ring was much more ergonomic...perhaps I need to have mine re-positioned?

    This intonation problem is driving me whacky. I can't afford a new horn right now. Thanks for any help!
    How is the intonation on the rest of the horn? How far out do you have your main tuning slide? It may be worthwhile experimenting with having the main slide out a few millimetres more than you usually do, and checking the intonation on the rest of the horn. This slight adjustment may help (although it is hard to say without actually seeing and hearing you play).

  3. #13
    Forte User brian moon's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Bloomfield Township, Mich

    Re: Bach Strad Intonation Problems

    Anhydrous lanolin works well but it will freeze. Cold weather can be a problem with it. Of course you should never leave your horn in the car for long in cold weather anyway. Sounds like it should help to have the ring and saddle moved. Trigger is easier but it really isn't that difficult to get used to using the standard ring and saddle.
    Last edited by brian moon; 07-01-2010 at 11:11 AM.
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  4. #14
    Mezzo Forte User graysono's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah

    Re: Bach Strad Intonation Problems

    Check out the Schilke Loyalist site on the advantages of the tunable bell trumpet. Some data there do suggest they play better in tune than non-tunable bell trumpets and suggest the physics reasons for that. I have a Schilke B6L and it is a fine horn--perhaps the best I have ever played on. But it too plays sharp on the C# and D. Rowuk is right (as usual), the rest of it is us and our embouchures and our mpcs. I play on a Curry 1.25ZM. It has a very relaxed throat (ie second cup) which I love for the lower resistance, but I have to watch my intonation much more because of that. So, as has been said above, some of it is the horn, but the rest is us.

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  5. #15
    Piano User stevesf's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Re: Bach Strad Intonation Problems

    As mentioned in this thread all trumpets are typically sharp on low C# and D. Tunable bell will not remedy that problem. As far as slides sticking when fully closed a trip to your local hardware store and picking up some small rubber O rings should do the trick and is a cheap fix. My first and third valve slides move with the ease of a trombone slide. I just prefer that for myself. I use a combo of slide grease with a few drops of valve oil to get that sort of viscosity. Making sure your horn is properly aligned is also important.
    You can also try cleaning your slides with toothpaste. I know it sounds weird but toothpaste is a mild abrasive and will not effect tolerances. Just make sure you rinse off and lubercate slides properly after you have finished cleaning slides.
    With practice using your tuning slides will become second nature.
    As far as trigger vs. thumb/finger hooks is just a matter of personal preference. I am comfortable using hooks and allows me to fine tune better. Others may choose trigger.
    Last edited by stevesf; 07-01-2010 at 01:32 PM.

  6. #16
    Forte User Bob Grier's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Greensboro, NC

    Re: Bach Strad Intonation Problems

    The 3rd slide sticking from the closed position is a common problem. Often it's caused by corrosion at that point in the slide. It doesn't take much to cause the slide to hang when you try to throw it out. This will cause the horn too move and disturb the embouchure. In addition to the other suggestions and good repair shop can fix this. Have then check the vavle alignment. While the rubber bumpers in the top valve caps almost never wear out, the valve stem felts shoud be replaced at least once a year. More often if you play a lot (hours) every day.
    Bob Grier, An Old Pro
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  7. #17
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    Jan 2009

    Re: Bach Strad Intonation Problems

    I'm tremendously grateful for your excellent suggestions. You have given me a great deal to check into. The O-rings is quite innovative and may do the trick to relieve the friction at the joints of my tuning slides. I'm guessing they have very thin ones that won't impact intonation. I'll definitely try this out as I am the anhydrous lanolin (thanks for letting me know it can freeze!). I do not believe my felts have ever been replaced so this is definitely something I'll take care of right away! Also, valve alignment. How is that done? Is it something a trumpeter can do him/herself?

    I'll check out the tunable bell more...thanks for the link, Graysono.

    I am thinking that angling my 3rd valve finger ring a bit might really help. I might also try wrapping it. When I hold the horn my finger is to the inside of the ring towards the third valve. When I go to push the slide out, my finger travels a quarter inch or so before hitting the other side of the ring. This causes a slight jarring of the trumpet which adds to the problem. Has anyone else encountered this? I'm thinking of wrapping the ring with a small piece of rubber tubing cut lengthwise. I'll let you know how it works.

    Regarding your questions on my general playing: all is in tune but for the typical out-of-tuners. As I said, when my tuning slide is set to 440 (on my horn extended about an inch and a quarter), my upper staff D and E are quite flat...I don't know what to do about this. Right now I'm directing and able to tune ensembles a bit sharp to my horn but I won't always be able to do this.

    I'm playing a 3C Bach mouthpiece. I've been playing with using small strips of tinfoil to adjust insertion depth. Haven't found any real noticable impact on intonation yet. By the way, I hear a good deal about both Curry and Laskey mouthpieces. Any suggestions? I'd like to try something in the 3C range that might have a bit less of a bite on the rim.

    Thanks again for all the great and most helpful replies!

  8. #18
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Parts Unknown

    Re: Bach Strad Intonation Problems

    If need be, you can finger the d and e in the staff 13 and 12. You will probably notice that all your 12 combinations are a bit sharp, and 23 quite a bit flat.

    The Curry 3C mouthpieces are based on the Mt. Vernon models and have quite a sharp bite to them. You might try a cheap Bach 3C clone, and for fun, file down the end of the shank until the popping frequency when you pop the mouthpiece against your palm is the same for the cup and the backbore; then have the mouthpiece shank turned on a lathe using a Morse taper to match the Bach specs. I did this with an old Mt. Vernon 7B and it is scary good!

    Have fun!
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  9. #19
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Bach Strad Intonation Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Madstrad48 View Post
    Thanks for all the helpful replies. A few more issues have been raised:

    Another thread brought up an additional intonation problem that I have encountered. When I have my horn tuned to 440 (my tuning slide is out a good inch and a half) my high-staff D and E are flat. When my tuning slide is in, the intonation is much better; even acceptable. What are people doing to correct these notes? It is much more difficult to lip up than least for me.

    Rowuk, thanks for the info. regarding efficiency. I'll have to study the physics of horn efficiency....don't know much about how this works. My initial impression is that I wouldn't want to reduce the efficiency and slotting of my horn or mouthpieces. I already feel this horn lacks some efficiency as it is very difficult to locate certain notes in higher range. (I am assuming this is a slotting issue but it may be my embouchure.)

    You also mentioned that ALL trumpets have intonation problems on low C# and D. Are there any trumpets that are passable - i.e., even though a bit out of tune, it is not really noticable or easily corrected with minimal embouchure adjustment?

    This leads to the suggestion of a tunable bell. What impact would this have of these two areas of poor intonation (low and high). What sort of investment is required to fit a Strad with one? Is it a fairly staightforward job or does it require exceptional skill; i.e., should I mail horn to a true specialist? When I'm ready to buy a horn, how many of you would recommend a tunable bell? Any naysayers?

    Thanks for any additional thoughts.
    Flat highest notes are most often messed up chops not hardware.

    There is a lot about the physics of the trumpet at the top of this section of the forum in the post "how a trumpet works".

    I do advocate a tuning bell, but am not convinced that the most common way of doing this is the best. I have been working on this for several years now and am on to something that I will not "give away". You don't need a tuning bell to get a reasonably in tune horn. You need to practice more tunes where you have the freedom to LISTEN while playing.

    If you play before you pay, there is almost always success. The best in tune horns that I have played were Schilkes and Yamahas, but none of the name brand Bb horns really have any serious issues.

    Standard horns are so good these days that you really do not have to worry about the hardware until you are so good that it doesn't matter anyway!
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

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